The mother of the Cobb County man shot dead by a Smyrna cop said Wednesday she was disgusted to learn that officer, Sgt. Kenneth Owens, had been promoted to lieutenant.
“These people are not taking us seriously,” Felicia Thomas told V-103. “They are laughing at us. America is promoting police officers who are killing our children.”
Nicholas Thomas, 23, was working at the Goodyear on Cumberland Parkway last March when Smyrna and Cobb County officers arrived at the tire store to serve a warrant for his arrest on a probation violation. After Thomas saw the officers, he tried to flee in a customer’s Maserati, according to police.
Officers said Thomas tried to run them over with the vehicle, prompting Owens to fire multiple shots. Thomas, shot in the back, died at the scene near Cumberland Mall. Owens was the only officer to fire his gun.
Last July, a Cobb County grand jury recommended no action be taken against Owens, who testified he shot Thomas to protect another officer. A week later, U.S. Attorney John Horn announced he was opening an investigation, still ongoing, into the shooting and the ensuing probe.
“He shouldn’t be getting a promotion he should be terminated,” Mawuli Davis, the Thomas family’s attorney, told the station. “It sends a message that what happened to Nick Thomas is okay. It’s one thing to not be indicted, it’s another thing to be rewarded.”
A protest is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday at Smyrna City Hall.
“We need our community, we need our leaders, we need our activists,” Felicia Thomas said. “It can happen to you We need to stop being complacent. We need to shut this city down.”
In a statement released after the grand jury’s decision, Smyrna police released a statement pointed out that Owens had a sterling record.
“He has interacted with thousands of citizens, made hundreds of arrests, contacted numerous armed individuals, including barricaded suspects, and encountered numerous wanted felons,” the statement read. “He has been involved in more than 35 foot or vehicle pursuits and has made more than 100 felony arrests.
“However, he (had) never before fired a weapon at anyone during the course of his sworn duties.”
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